Horrible Histories: Whipping boys, the Plague and poo!

It’s not every day that you get to meet royalty, especially dead ones… but being an MMTV presenter has its perks. We went to check out Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part 2 and got to spring a surprise visit on the cast in their dressing room so we could ask them some Hooorible questions.

Here’s what happened…

What’s your favourite Horrible Histories song?

King Edward: I like the one about the plague. First you feel a little poorly then you start to swell, then you start to spit some blood and then you really smell. Then you know it’s time to ring your funeral bell. Then along comes Mr Death and takes you off to Bournemouth!

Who’s your favourite horrible Histories character?

Queen Victoria: Me of course, Queen Victoria haha! You look like a pretty horrible character to me…

What’s your favourite part in the Horrible Histories play, Barmy Britain Part Two?

Kind Edward: My favourite part is in Dick Turpin cos I get to rob and steal from the audience, and in fact, today I got to steal a teddy bear from the audience and ripped it apart cos that’s the sort of nasty man I am! I’m Dick Turpin, and I like shooting people and hurting people and hurting teddies.

Why wasn’t Gromit in the William Wallace story?

Kind Edward: That is a very good question. I think that’s a slightly different story, I think you’ve got your history a little bit confused.

Queen Victoria: I have to say I have heard that William Wallace liked cheese, you know Wensleydale.

King Edward: That’s a little known historical fact, William Wallace liked cheese.

Queen Victoria: He might’ve had a dog called Gromit, who knows?

Queen Victoria did a rap in the play, if she was still alive in this day who would be her favourite rap artist?

Queen Victoria: Oh come on, she would be her own favourite rap artist don’t you think?

When you were a whipping boy did it hurt?

King Edward: Yes it’s very painful to be a whipping boy because whipping boys got whipped when their best friends were naughty. You imagine if you had a whipping boy and whenever you were naughty they whipped your best friend? You were supposed to be upset but you probably actually thought it was quite funny, and the whipping boy lived with Prince Edward before he became King because you weren’t allowed to whip a King, so when he was naughty they whipped his best friend. I like being a whipping boy cos I get whipped on stage every day and it hurts.

What’s your favourite historical fact?

Queen Victoria: Seeing as I am dressed as Queen Victoria my favourite fact would be that she was 18 when she went to the throne. I can remember when I was 18, how much power to have for such a young woman to be ruling so many places. Can you imagine being Queen? What would you do? What would be your law?

Kara: Adults have to go to bed at 7!

Queen Victoria: And I would make it compulsory to have bacon sandwiches every day.

Ethan: If I was King I would say all the children get to do whatever they want.

Queen Victoria: Oh my goodness crazy times!

Kara: Yeah but wouldn’t there be tons of terrors on the streets?

Was Bouddica the Beyoncé of her day?

Queen Victoria: I love playing Bouddica. She is one of my favourite characters – she was such a ferocious woman. Was she Beyoncé of her day? Most definitely! In this show she’s quite rock’n’roll, rock ooooooooooooooooon!

Are you really as smelly as the characters you play?

King Edward: I am not smelly, because I bathe every 2 years, but I do believe that my co-star is VERY smelly because she doesn’t bathe; bathing is a modern ridiculous invention. Do you know what happens if you go into water? You can actually die. Bathing is not advisable and no child should be made to bathe, at least every 5 years, that’s the way I think it should be.

Queen Victoria: And when they got the plague they got a lot of bottom wind: they did a lot of *makes farting noises* so I can’t help it if I’m smelly, I got the plague.

Was there actually any medicine for the plague?

King Edward: Of course there was medicine for the plague, there were many cures for the plague: you take a chicken, you shave its bottom and you put it on the sore. I mean, that’s available at most Boots, or any good chemist, or just ring a bell very loud because that purifies the air, or whip yourself, cos really, plague is a punishment from God and whipping yourself cures you.

Did they actually work?

King Edward: Well of course they worked, I mean, only a third of the country died of the plague. It obviously would’ve been more.

Did they have any medication for when they coughed up blood?

King Edward: Yes they would take the blood and they would eat it back up into their bodies. That way they would have more blood in them than they had before. Whenever you cough up blood, just scoop it up and put it back in.

Queen Elizabeth says ‘Armada than you, you do you think would win in a fight between Queen Elizabeth and Kate Duchess of Cambridge?

Queen Victoria: Oooo well Queen Elizabeth was pretty gross, she used to wear white make up on her face which was lead, and she had black teeth and all her hair fell out so she had to wear lots of different types of wigs. Although, she did have very good dress sense like Kate, she has good dress sense too didn’t she? I think it would be a draw, shall we just chuck them in a bowl of jelly and see what happens?

What’s your favourite period of history?

King Edward: My favourite period of history is the Georgian times because they are very naughty. They used to do very naughty things: they used to poo out of windows onto people’s heads because they thought it was hilarious. I don’t think you should do that Ethan because if you poo on someone from a window you’re gonna get in trouble. High five….don’t poo from windows.

Tell us about Burke and Hare!

King Edward: Everybody thinks they were body snatchers, everybody thinks they dug up bodies and sold them, but they didn’t, they had a much cleverer way of finding bodies, they killed people! Anybody who came to stay at their guest house, they would smother so that no one would know how they died and then they sold their bodies for money. I think it’s a fair trade, a good idea. It all happened in Edinburgh so don’t go to Edinburgh and stay in a guest house if you’re not sure it’s being run from Burke & Hare.

Queen Victoria: Cos I play Hare, obviouslyNeal is a Burke. That’s just a given.

When you were chopping was it good for one of the jobs you had?

King Edward: Yeah, yeah I like chopping cos when I was an executioner in Tudor times, I’d get to chop off people’s heads, the problem was, we never got trained; we had to learn ourselves so it often went wrong. So you’d chop people like Mary Queen of Scots, I had to chop her head off but I missed didn’t I? And I chopped in the back of her head and she went, “oh that hurt”, so I chopped again and she went, “that hurt a lot”, so in the end I just got my knife and I just sawed her head off. But you know, it didn’t work out cos I lifted her head to hold the head of a betrayer and she was wearing a wig! No one told me she was wearing a wig, her head dropped off, bounced all around the floor, got blood all over me new shoes. It really drove me mad – I had to go to the dry cleaners, cost me a fortune.

When you were Elizabeth and you had to go under cover how did you feel?

Queen Victoria: Elizabeth enjoyed getting down and dirty with the ordinary folk such as a whipping boy, an executioner and the groom of the stool although it was a bit gross the groom of the stool. Disgusting!

When you were groom of the stool was that real poo?

King Edward: We take our theatre productions very seriously and I am a method actor so anything we have to do I do it for real and when they said to me, “Neal, we’d like you to do a scene where you wipe your face with a cloth and we pretend it’s covered in poo, I said no! I take my art seriously, I want real poo.” And so they put real poo on the cloth and every day I wipe real poo all over my face just to make children laugh. That’s how dedicated I am to this production.

So we had so much fun meeting Neal and Alison and their alter egos, King Edward and Queen Victoria. Don’t think we’ve ever had so much fun learning stuff about history and they make it so funny and interesting.

‘til next time everyone!

Mini love,

Kara & Ethan